Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Four Biblical Marys

During Lent, we performed weekly dramas called "The Women of Calvary". I got about eight awesome women to commit to taking parts (and a few men in supporting roles too). Afterwards, I wanted to thank them by buying them some kind of devotional book about women in the Bible. Not a massive tome like Edith Deen's Women of the Bible, or Robert Ellsburg's book on women saints. Just a little pocket devotional with some information about a few of the women in the Bible, some prayers, maybe some artistic renderings, some creative reflections. That's what I was looking for.

I couldn't find anything like that. I know, there's Liz Curtis Higg's book Bad Girls of the Bible -- and that the women might find that amusing. But that's not exactly what I was looking for either. I think the Zondervan has a big book of devotions about women of the Bible too. I haven't seen it around lately, though.

So I decided to try to write something myself. I wanted to call it: Four Biblical Marys.

I haven't started it yet.

I'd like to work on it, from time to time, in this space. And I'd be interested in feedback from those of you who read this from time to time.

The first Biblical Mary is Miriam, the sister of Moses. Now I know, Miriam is not really a Mary. But all of the Marys in the New Testament, famous or obscure, mothers or disciples -- are really "Miriam." Miriam is the namesake and model of them all. Mary is the Greek equivalent for the Hebrew "Miriam". It's possible that Mary seems to be such a popular name in the new testament (causing actual confusion among readers in some cases) because Miriam is such a popular and important figure in the Old Testament. She is, in some ways, larger than life -- standing alongside her brothers Moses and Aaron and leading the people of Israel out of Egypt and into the promised land.

We first encounter Miriam as a girl. She is instrumental in saving her brother as a baby. She hides in the weeds as Pharoah's daughter discovers him and offers her own mother as a nurse for the baby. She is quick-witted and clever, thinking on her feet. She also leads the women of Israel in joyous song on the banks of the Red Sea. Some scholars think that Moses' song at the Red Sea really belongs to Miriam: "Sing to the Lord, for he has triumphed gloriously; horse and rider he has thrown into the sea." Miriam is also famous challenging Moses' authority, along with her brother Aaron. She alone is punished for her impudence. God gives her a skin disease and banishes her from the community for seven days. She also dies before entering the promised land. But so do Moses and Aaron. In each case, the Lord's chosen leaders are barred from crossing over into Canaan.

What do you think? This would just be the introductory information for Miriam. I would also write a prayer, or prayers, and have a couple of reflections/devotions connecting her with us.

I would like to "blog" updates every once in awhile, and would appreciate feedback on this project.


Serena said...

I like it a lot ... encourage you to proceed ... and would love hard copy when you get it published

more cows than people said...

First of all, good for you for creating what you cannot find! That's fabulous.

And this is a GREAT beginning. Well written, thought provoking. I can't wait to peek in as this unfolds.

And yes... hard copy would be great when all is said and done!

lj said...

Check out Joyce Hollyday's "Clothed With the Sun," too. And there's one by an AME bishop that is escaping my memory at the moment, but I'll look it up. Not to discourage you from writing your own. Go for it!